America is becoming one of the most diverse Western countries in the world. Immigrants from around the world, rather than just Europe, are changing the face of America. Immigrants add more than labor value to the American economy. Immigrants start families, raise children, and influence the cultural mosaic of America. The American educational system needs to account for these cultural influences. A student`s culture plays a major role in how they learn, and teachers, curriculum, and pedagogy must reflect and learn from the multicultural contributions of students from all cultures. Most importantly, the American educational system must deliver parity in how resources are delivered to students who come from cultures that lack the social capital necessary for success in a formal educational system.
All cultures, even those that lack contact with formal educational system, promote ideologies and systems of learning in their youth, and the educational system must recognize how this variation presents disadvantages for some children. In Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, the authors emphasize the importance of recognizing how children from cultures outside the dominant culture of the educational system might learn in unique ways (Banks & Banks). The children of parents who lack a higher level of educational attainment suffer a distinct disadvantage relative to the children of formally educated parents. Social capital is the term used to describe the cultural trait that values formal educational opportunities and delivers resources to help children succeed academically. Students raised without social capital, which comes from parents, caretakers, and community leaders, are less likely to prevail in their studies.
The educational system must identify these students and provide them with supplemental resources to level the play field. Otherwise, society is likely to become stratified as those students from cultures without social capital fail to take advantage of educational opportunities. In her TED Talk, Social Capital The Critical Assets for Success, Sadhana Pasricha dismantles the myth of individualism in American society that asserts that personal effort is all that is needed for success (Pasrich). In reality, some cultures provide their youth with substantial resources that can be applied to academic success. Students from cultures that value education are not succeeding merely through individual effort, even though these cultures are often the ones that promote this false ideology of individualism.
Our educational system must deliver equal educational opportunity for all students, regardless of their cultural background. The educational system must deliver resources for those students raised without the social capital that values the formal methods of education. America`s cultural fabric is becoming increasingly diverse, and the cultural backgrounds of all students must add value rather than be a detriment to their education.